Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Google-Dart / SVG Widgets Released on Github as Open-Source

Dart-Squid UI SVG / Dart Components

SVG / Dart GUI Widgets Initial Release

I have written a couple blogs about the potential for Google's Dart language to improve browser-based software applications development. In that previous posting, I also mentioned that I was working on my first open-source software (OSS) Dart language library: a set of Dart / SVG UI Development components, controls, and framework.

Introducing: dart-squid

The moniker I arrived at was simply a pseudo-acronym that pulled first letters from Svg, Quick, User Interface, and Development / design: i.e., "SQUID", or as the new github repository is named, "dart-squid". I have now pushed an initial commit of these open-source widgets to my Github dart-squid SVG / Dart UI Components project site under the MIT license (for freeware).

These components work in the Dartium browser (Chromium with Dart VM). To use the normal Chrome browser (JavaScript version), you would have to have the Dart Editor installed, download the widget code from github, and launch as a JavaScript project (the editor uses dart2js compiler to make this possible).

These Google-Dart/SVG UI Widgets are my first solo open-source release to Github. They are not quite as far along as my original JavaScript-based ones, but it sure was a lot easier developing the same functionality in Dart vs. JS! Dart allowed me to completely refactor the hideous JS code (prototype-ridden ugliness, etc.) and write rather decent OO (Object-Oriented) code that looks quite a bit like Delphi (i.e., object-Pascal); always a plus for Delphi aficionados like me. And, the widgets are generally pretty functional for a mid-alpha-stage release.

Dart has been rather stable for me during development, and I have worked to keep up with the latest Dart language and VM changes that emerge as Dart moves toward its "M1" release (milestone 1). E.g., today I quickly fixed a few "breaking changes" that just hit the Dart VM including the movement of the Math.(various routines) into their own dart:math library (previously such routine were in core lib). I also renamed the XMLHttpReq to the new non-XML-prefixed version. Getters are all using the latest adopted syntax (i.e., those without parens). I will try to ensure the existing functionality remains able to execute as the Dart language progresses (with, hopefully no more than a few days delay).

Future Plans for these Dart / SVG UI Widgets

As time permits, I plan to continue work on implementing new functionality and additional widgets (sub-classes). I have yet to port all my original JavaScript widgets (that included fully-native-SVG scrollbars and checkboxes), but those should be coming in the future. I am also working on getting some documentation wrapped up (though comments in the code are somewhat in-depth already).

If you happen to try these widgets out and want to ask questions, feel free to post comments here and I will do my best to answer. And, just to be clear up front: I do not expect everyone will find these components to be of use... especially right now; they are as much of a "proof-of-concept" as anything and a demonstration of what is possible in Dart/SVG. I will try to make them useful to as many people as possible, but only time will tell whether they will ever be a logical part of any real software applications. They require optimization and much more testing for sure, and until certain browser bug(s)/issue(s) are resolved (that impact rendering in some instances), they will definitely not be production-quality. Stay tuned.

Continue to read this Software Development and Technology Blog for computer programming articles (including useful free / OSS source-code and algorithms), software development insights, and technology Techniques, How-To's, Fixes, Reviews, and News — focused on Dart Language, SQL Server, Delphi, Nvidia CUDA, VMware, TypeScript, SVG, other technology tips and how-to's, plus my varied political and economic opinions.

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